After a shock defeat last weekend, Murray United must pick itself back up as it searches for maximum points against Nunawading City on Sunday.
Coach James Coutts knows the group, collectively, wasn’t at the level it had been in recent weeks.
“I felt our intensity and energy was lacking last Saturday, so we’ll make sure this weekend that the boys really prepare well and are ready for the game come Sunday,” he said.
Despite being in good form, marquee man Archie Thompson wasn’t able to have a huge impact on the game, but Coutts said his star striker is eager to get back on the score sheet.
“He knows his standards and he’s knows when he’s had a good game or hasn’t had his best game,” Coutts said.
“Last week was collectively one where none of us were at it enough and Archie would hold his hand up and say he was a part of that.
“We all need to do better this week and apply the levels we have been previously.”
Defender Nick Teichmann is unavailable for the road trip, while Sean Pye copped a knock against Springvale last weekend and will be given time to prove his fitness.
However, Coutts is confident he has the depth to fill any potential void.
“We’ve got good competition and some of the younger boys are starting to perform well to push for spots,” he said.
“There will be a little bit of change in the backline, whether Melkie (Woldemichael) goes over to left back or we put someone else there is yet to be determined.
“Munya (Ruparanganda) has been playing really well in the under 20s and we played him at full back earlier in the season.
“One thing we talk about all the time is being adaptable and being able to play different positions, because at any point you could find yourself in a different role.”
Coutts admitted he hasn’t faced a more intense defender than Woldemichael.
“Melkie’s intensity, his pressure and his defensive energy is the same as when he’s forward, so he is going to be a weapon wherever you play him,” he said.
“In this league, we know that certain teams have very good wide players and we felt we needed to shore that up because we had more cover up forward than defensively.
“You ask him to do a job and he’ll do it to the best of his ability, which as a coach you love having in a player, because you’ll know what you get with him.”
Nunawading boasts three former A-League players in James Brown, Mitch Cooper and Jason Trifiro, who will provide United a challenge.
“We seem to have some really good games against them and some pretty ordinary ones, so it will be a good test for us and hopefully we can go down there and get the points,” Coutts said.
“They’ve certainly got a lot of quality in there with the young players they bring up through their group, but we’ll go down there looking to impose our game on them.”
Sunday’s game kicks off at 3pm at Mahoney’s Reserve.